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Joan Avitabile

posted: Jan 6, 2010 11:33 am | Comments (7)

20100106_joan%20a.jpgJoan Lucia Avitabile, 67, died peacefully Monday January 4th surrounded by family and friends at Saint Raphael’s Hospital in New Haven.

Joan was the daughter of the late James Vincent Avitabile and Mary Papa Avitabile. She is survived by her brother James Avitabile his wife Maria their three daughters: Maria Alicia (Michael) Fernandez Lucia Lucia Elena (Robert) Mack and Carmen Gerardine (Timothy) Keslar and 8 great nieces/nephews her many beloved aunts uncles and cousins of the Avitabile and Papa families. She is also mourned by many dear friends who loved her like family.

Joan worked in the public schools and supermarkets of the area over the for almost 50 years. While attending college Joan worked as a meat wrapper to pay for her education
and continued part-time work in the supermarkets in customer service and new store set-up for many years even when she became a guidance counselor. She made close and lifelong friends with her co-workers.

When she graduated from SCSU Joan began her career in education as a 2nd grade teacher in Branford. She began to work in the New Haven Public Schools in 1969. She worked on Special Projects and then as a guidance counselor at the Sheridan Middle School. In 1975 Joan began to work at High School in the Community where she remained as the counselor and important member of the leadership group of the school for more than 20 years. Her educational philosophies were critical to the progress and strength of the school. She worked with students parents teachers central school administrators always with the belief that each individual deserved respect. She saw the goodness in everyone.

When after twenty years she left High School in the Community she served as assistant principal at Lincoln-Bassett K-8 School and then retired. Joan later returned to work part-time at the Sound School then at the Metropolitan Business Academy and finally at CROSS CT Scholars Academy. She was responsible for guidance of the students but also played an essential role in the development of those new schools and programs. She was paid for part-time work but Joan never did anything part-time. She worked tirelessly to improve the schools for the benefit of the students of New Haven.

She was widely loved and respected by colleagues throughout the school system and by those many hundreds of students she worked with over her long career. Many credit her guidance with inspiring them to achieve leadership positions in education or to follow her path in counseling. Her compassion humor energy and vision were extraordinary. She will be greatly missed.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday morning at 9:30 in St. Vincent de Paul Church Taylor Ave. East Haven. Entombment will follow in St. Lawrence Cemetery Mausoleum. There are no calling hours. Arrangements are with the Clancy Funeral Home 43 Kirkham Ave. East Haven.

Donations in her honor can be made to the New Haven Scholarship Fund P.O. Box 8936 New Haven Ct. 06532-8936 or online at .

There is also a Facebook memorial page here.

William E. Johnston, Jr.

posted: Jan 6, 2010 11:20 am | Comments (3)

20100106_johnston%2C%20william%20jr.jpgOn December 28, 2009, New Haven lost a champion of the people. William “Bill” E. Johnston, Jr., age 72, passed away at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford after a long battle with respiratory illness.

Born in “Sugar Hill” Harlem, NYC to William E. Johnston, Sr. and Ernestine Steele Johnston, Bill graduated from Hillhouse High School and studied Social Science at the University of New Haven. From 1955-1959 he served in the United States Air Force, stationed in Great Britain. In the 1960s he became director of New Haven’s Legion Community Center, a program of CPI’s Model City.  He was Property Manager of 2,500 housing units for the new town of Reston in Virginia for Gulf Oil and then advanced to Vice President of Human Resources at the Gulf Oil World Headquarters in Pittsburgh. Returning to his activist roots, he became a consultant for Gateway Development Corporation in New Haven and Director of Development for Cities in Schools in Washington, DC before becoming Program Director for Columbus House in New Haven, leading that organization’s increasingly-meaningful role in the local community from 1991 to 2006. Bill was President and Board Member of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness; Board Member of the Hill Development Corporation; Empower New Haven; and Family Counseling of Greater New Haven.  He most recently served as Board Member of the Christian Community Action Agency, Inc. and an appointed Commissioner to the City of New Haven Homelessness Commission.

Bill touched countless lives in his community family, but none more so than those of his immediate family that he leaves behind: loving wife Judith Ziomek Johnston; daughter Elizabeth Johnston and her partner Lizzette Flores; son William E. Johnston, III, his wife Shannon and their children Emma and William; nieces Valerie Aldrich and Carmen Carr; and nephews Hayward H. Gatling, Jr. and Edward Brinkley.

His family wishes to thank all the nurses and healthcare professionals coordinated by Dr. Ernest Moritz with special appreciation for the Hospital of St. Raphael respiratory staff.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, January 17, at 3 p.m. at BEECHER & BENNETT FUNERAL HOME, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden. Friends may visit with his family two hours prior to the service. Internment will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bill’s memory may be made to the Christian Community Action Agency, Inc., 168 Davenport Ave., New Haven, CT 06519 or City of New Haven Community Services Administration (CSA) on behalf of the Homelessness Commission, 165 Church St., New Haven, CT 06510. To send condolences to his family, contact contact

Freddie Fixer Passes

posted: Jan 5, 2010 3:05 pm | Comments (37)

edgrantsaward.pngHis real name was Ed Grant. He pioneered “environmental justice” before anyone invented the phrase.

Continue reading ‘Freddie Fixer Passes’ »

“Mr. Windows” Left His Mark

posted: Dec 31, 2009 12:02 pm | Comments (13)

Benson%20010.jpgDowntown they knew Benson Hameen McAuley as the guy who lived hand to mouth by washing windows and doing odd jobs. At Masjid Al-Islam on George Street they knew him as a stalwart at pre-dawn prayer services and an example of the life-changing effects of following the tenets of Islam.

Continue reading ‘“Mr. Windows” Left His Mark’ »

Relius E. Frison

posted: Dec 29, 2009 12:08 pm | Comments (2)

Relius%20E.%20Frison%207-16-1937%20-%2012-27-2009.jpgRelius Frison, 72 of New Haven, CT passed away December 27, 2009.  Relius was born July 16, 1937 in Smithfield, NC to the late Wilbert Smith and Claressor Frierson.  He leaves to cherish his memory; Relius Frison; aunt, Carol Moore of Fayettville, NC; cousins, Lois Yvonne Stimpson of Raliegh, NC, Faye Gary of Upper Marlboro, MD, Pamela Moore (Samuel) of Clayton, NC, Gail Thorpe (Charles) of Wendell, NC, Ceasar Frierson, Bruce Frierson,  of Garner, NC, Willie Maurice of MD,  and Edna Williams, of Fayettville, NC. A celebration of his life will take place Wednesday December 30, 2009 at 11 AM at Immanuel Baptist Church, 1324 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06511.  Friends may call Wednesday at the church from 10-11 AM.  Interment will be in Connecticut State Veterans Cemetery, Middletown, CT at a later date.  To leave a message of comfort to the Frison family, please visit

Veronica Alexander

posted: Dec 27, 2009 2:23 pm | Comments (0)

Veronica%20Alexander%204-11-1951-12-23-2009.jpgVeronica Alexander, 58 of New Haven, CT passed away December 23, 2009.  Veronica was born April 11, 1951 in New Haven, CT to the late Nathaniel Cooper and Floria Anderson.  Veronica was employed at Yale New Haven Hospital for 39 years as the Admissions Coordinator of the Children’s Psychiatric Unit. She leaves to cherish her memory; husband, Hank Warner of New Haven; son, Everet Alexander; step-sons, Ashante Warner, Andre Thompson both of New Haven; sister Julia Anderson of New Haven; brothers, Sonny Cooper, Jerome Cooper both of NY; special niece, Lakisha Streater of New Haven; grandchildren, Erika, Evan and Taylor Alexander, Malachi Warner; 10 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and special friends.  She was predeceased by her daughter, Ericka Alexander and stepson, Marcus Warner. A celebration of her life will take place Wednesday December 30, 2009 at 11 AM at St. Matthews UFW Baptist Church 400 Dixwell Ave, New Haven.  Friends may call Wednesday at the church from 9-11 AM.  Interment will be in Hamden Plains Cemetery, Hamden, CT.  To leave a message of comfort to the Alexander, Warner, Anderson families, please visit here.

Rev. Dr. Thomas J. Donelson, 92,

posted: Dec 25, 2009 10:25 am | Comments (0)

Thomas%20J.%20Donelson%208-1-1917%20-%2012-22-2009.jpgRev. Dr. Thomas J. Donelson, 92, went home to be with the Lord on December 22, 2009 at Yale New Haven Hospital. Rev. Donelson was born August 1, 1917 in Lexington, MS to the late Eddie and Hattie Mae Wilson-Donelson. He was married to Rev. Inez Franklin-Donelson.  He was the Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, New Haven for 46 years. In addition to his wife, he leaves to cherish his memory; daughter, Rev. Jacqueline Kornegay (George); 4 grandchildren; 6 great grandchildren; New Hope Church family and a host of brothers and sisters in Christ. He was predeceased by his first wife, Gladys Horton-Donelson; son, Thomas Donelson; daughters, Evang. Janet Mills, Crystal Donelson; brothers, Eddie and Lincoln Donelson; sisters, Pecolia Nolls, Beatrice Ross, Hattie Mae Griffin, Bertha Felix and Katherine Donelson. Funeral services will take place Wednesday December 30, 2009, 11 AM with calling hours from 9-11 AM at New Hope Baptist Church 109 Butler St. New Haven. Interment will take place in Evergreen Cemetery. Dr. Donelson will lie in state at the church, Tuesday December 29, 2009 from 12 Noon-6 PM with a celebration of his life for friends and family beginning at 6 PM. Services by Howard K. Hill Funeral Services 1287 Chapel Street New Haven, CT 06511. To leave a message of comfort to the Donelson family, please visit here.

Elmer Moore, Michelle Williams, Arthur H. Woodard Sr., Llewellyn (Bobby) Joseph Ward

posted: Dec 24, 2009 12:49 pm | Comments (0)

Elmer (Pete) Moore

Mr. Elmer (Pete) Moore was born to the late Elmer Walker Moore and Lucy Jane Thomas-Moore in New Haven, CT on February 17, 1927.  He departed this life on December 14, 2009 at the Yale University Health Center.  He served his country by enlisting in the Army, receiving a WWII Victory Medal and was honorably discharged in 1945.  He retired from Raybestos in Stratford, CT in 1985 and later worked as a Parking Lot Manager from 1986 to 2009 for TCI in New Haven, CT.  He is a member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, New Haven, CT.  Elmer (Pete) Moore leaves to cherish precious memories, a dedicated and loving wife, Gloria D. Moore; 2 sons, Elmer Moore III and Robert Moore; 2 daughters, Kellee Moore and Joan Arum; 8 grandchildren, Christopher, Dominique, Erica and Brandon Moore, Richard, Rashell, Elsie and Stephanie Arum; 2 brothers, Gordon and wife Mary, Sherrill (Bummy) Moore and aunt, Melinda Mann.  Also to cherish his memory, brothers-in-law, Joe L. Jackson and Virgil L. Jones; godchildren, Michelle Smith, Raven Justice and Cornelius Harge.  He is also survived by a host of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, family and friends.  Elmer (Pete) Moore was predeceased by a daughter, Joann Arum; 2 brothers, Edward and Donald Moore and sister, Mary Jane Haywood.  Special thanks to the staff at Yale New Haven Hospital and the staff at Yale University Health Services.  A celebration of his life will take place Friday, December 18, 2009 at 11AM at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 255 Goffe Street New Haven, CT 06511.  Friends may call at 9AM.  Family will greet friends from 10AM-11AM.  Interment will take place in Evergreen Cemetery.  To leave a message of comfort to the Moore family, please visit here.

Continue reading ‘Elmer Moore, Michelle Williams, Arthur H. Woodard Sr., Llewellyn (Bobby) Joseph Ward’ »

Vivian Cox

posted: Dec 15, 2009 1:26 pm | Comments (0)

Vivian%20Olivia%20Smith%20Cox%201-25-1925-12-11-2009.jpgVivian Olivia Smith Cox “Grand”, 84 of New Haven went home on December 11, 2009.  Vivian was born to the late Claude Smith Armissy Harris on January 25, 1925 in Ayden, NC.  Vivian was a member of Church of God and Saints of Christ.  She leaves to cherish her memory; daughters, Shirley Cheeks and Edith Jackson of New Haven, CT; sons Johnnie Davis Cox Jr. (Bernice) of West Haven, CT and Willie Lee Cox (Mary) of Ayden, NC; sisters Shirley Williams of NY and Doris Stanley of Greenville, NC; brother Floyd Smith of New Haven, CT; 17 grandchildren, 37 great grand children, 47 great-great grand children and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.  She was predeceased by her husband, Johnnie D. Cox; brothers James Smith and Chester Smith.

A celebration of her life will take place Friday December 18, 2009 at 11 AM at The Church of God and Saints of Christ, 109 Beers Street, New Haven, CT 06511. Friends may call Friday at the church from 9-11 AM. Interment will be in Beaverdale Cemetery.  Services by Howard K. Hill Funeral Services 1287 Chapel Street New Haven, CT 06511. To leave a message of comfort to the Cox family, please visit

Isreal Rush

posted: Dec 15, 2009 1:17 pm | Comments (0)

Israel%20Rush.jpgIsreal Rush, 92, of New Haven passed away December 11, 2009.  Isreal was born to the late Norman and Leler Horne Rush on February 5, 1917 in Norwood, NC.  Isreal was a member of St. Mary’s Freewill Baptist Church in New Haven. He leaves to cherish his memory; wife Ida Borward- Rush of New Haven; daughters, Jean Rush and Joan Rush of MT Vernon, NY and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.  He was predeceased by; sister, Glennie Chambers and brother, Norman Rush Jr. A celebration of his life will take place Tuesday December 15, 2009 at 10 AM at St. Mary’s FWB Church 49 Goffe Street New Haven. Friends may call Tuesday at the church from 9-10 AM. Interment will be in Evergreen Cemetery.  Services by Howard K. Hill Funeral Services 1287 Chapel Street New Haven, CT 06511. To leave a message of comfort to the Rush family, please visit

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